Very happy to recommend bench Africa! Bench arranged a custom safari itinerary in Kenya and Tanzania for our family to celebrate my husband’s 50th birthday. After two nights in Nairobi, we experienced fantastic 11 nights on Safari with our own driver and vehicle, staying mostly in luxury tinted accommodation close to within the parks. We visited Amboseli National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, the Seronera Valley of the Serengeti and then headed north to the Mara River where nature gave us the gift of seeing the wildebeest migration in action during an extraordinary river crossing complete with crocodile encounters! We finished off with five nights of beach luxury on the island of Zanzibar. A once in a lifetime experience!
Review by MartinOC Dufenjuk1 month ago
Most helpful and all arrangements ran to plan.
Review by Semun Pangonyte1 month ago
This was the trip of a lifetime and going through Bench travel the best decision I made. We had Karen organise our trip and with only 10 days she fitted everything in we wanted to do from Cape town and the wine district to Safari in Sabi Sabi and Victoria falls. It was so well organised it just flowed. Karen was always very helpful and calmly made any changes we needed. Every person we met was interesting and helpful and added to the experience. In particular Sabi Sabi Bush Camp was fantastic, the enthusiasm, passion and knowledge of our safari driver Ruth and tracker Heaviness was contagious and the lengths they went to to ensure we had the most amazing experience ever was truly remarkable. They went out of their way to make sure both the other couple in our vehicle and ourselves enjoy every minute and of course tracking down the Big 5. Ruth even dined with us every night adding lots of back ground and stories to the experience and making us really feel at home. The Camp itself is amazing, as is the food and service and all the staff. Many thanks for making my 60th so special.
Ilios do a fabulous job with all their drivers who always appeared on time and each added their own flavor to the trip. We were never left waiting or in any doubt we would get to where we had to be on time.
We did a half day Capetown private tour which was great as we could choose where we went. The full day small group tour to the Cape of Good Hope was fantastic. We were lucky to be there in winter as apparently the ques to get in can be terrible in summer. Yes the baboons steal from you, one lady had 2 tops stolen from her hand and another her handbag with all her money and passport in it which luckily a ranger retrieved. After a private full day wine tour where we managed to go to some of the more interesting older wineries was great and ended up staying the night in a fabulous french provincial style villa the Franschhoek Country House which has an interesting tasting restaurant.
The experience of going to Zambia and Zimbabwe to see Victoria falls was fabulous as was the helicopter ride and the sunset cruise. The little shops in Victoria are great as is the Elephant Walk shops and craft market. The Brewery is a great place for lunch. Easy and safe to walk around these places. Possibly The Kingdom isn't the best place to stay but it was very central and an experience in itself.
A huge thank you to Bench and all their associated tour companies in South Africa for making this trip so special. I have traveled all my life and would normally organise things myself but I have to say it really was worth going through Bench who knew how to put together an amazing experience.
Review by Auriane Cacilia1 month ago
Bench Africa recently organised a very personalized trip in Africa for our family. The planning and organisation was extremely thorough and consultant (Lyndal) was very patient whilst we changed our plans and dates numerous times. Once we were in Africa, our transfers, guides and accommodation were all excellent. We would highly recommend Bench Africa
Review by Stellios Fowmes2 months ago
Wow..where do I begin, every aspect of this adventure was perfect. The trip of a lifetime ill of experiences I will treasure forever. Karen our travel conSultant from Bench, created a trip that delivered in every way. She asked what we wanted to do and see then created and worked with us to create that delivered everything and more than we expected. Everything went like clockwork there were no issues or hiccups throughout the month we spent in East and South Africa.
Travelling throughout East Africa was absolutely our highlight. We saw every animal possible, vast herds on the move and in their natural setting. The Lodges and service were fantastic and we were totally spoilt in every way. Cape Town, the vineyards and Victoria Falls were icing on the cake. An amazing holiday from start to finish.
Review by Rumiyya Owhoferia2 months ago
I booked the Grand Tour of Africa through my local travel agent with Bench Africa and as I was travelling alone and this was my first trip to Africa I was slightly nervous. My agent assured me that I would be well looked after every step of the way and he was right! I received detailed documents from Bench Africa with added tips which were very useful. The Grand Tour is in two parts, Wildlife & Warriors from Johannesburg to Durban, then a short flight to Port Elizabeth and then a Garden Route tour from there. So we had two different guides, Walter and Abdullah, both were excellent. A party of 14 for the first part and 12 for the second. Another couple from Australia and myself and the rest from UK. Kruger was a highlight and we saw the Big 5 really quickly as well as most of the Ugly 5 as well as many more! The guides in Kruger keep in contact by radio and are excellent at finding where the animals are. I was amazed to discover that Kruger was twice the size of Wales! We returned for an optional night safari which was incredible too. It was totally amazing to see the animals so close up, just that made the tour worthwhile. So many included activities and a really busy tour but we saw so much. So many animals, beautiful scenery, famous places like Table Mountain, Cape of Good Hope etc and visited wineries, ostrich farm and saw the main cities too. We were offered extra tours, one was an elephant sanctuary where I got to take an elephant for a walk and another was Tenikwa Big Cat Reserve where we had afternoon tea with a cheetah prowling outside OUR enclosure and later went for a walk with him. The hotels on the tour were excellent, a stand out was Hunters Country Lodge where the finest details are included, an open fire lit in your cottage while you are at dinner and hot water bottle in the bed were just a couple! I also enjoyed The Benjamin in Durban, smaller rooms and older hotel but amazing service, so friendly and helpful and the open cocktail cabinet in the evenings was an enjoyable place to meet people. The only hotel that wasn't up to standard was Surval which had been changed from my itinerary and was a disappointment. The hotel rooms although large were very dated and they need refurbishing badly. The meals included in the tour were excellent and food in South Africa is very reasonable when we had to pay for our own. When we did the wineries tour we had 3 on the itinerary but when we got to the 3rd one (Spier) there was no booking so we had to leave. This really wasn't an issue as I was feeling that maybe 3 wine tastings in one day was too much! So although a couple of glitches nothing major and certainly didn't have any effect on the trip at all.
Review by Afnaan Hogeland2 months ago
In June this year we travelled to Botswana,Zimbabwe & SA with Bench, the second time we have used Bench.
Arrangements made by Katelyn Quinlan were perfect and took into account my wife's mobility issues.
Needless to say the Safari Camps were excellent, the wildlife outstanding and the whole experience was a trip of a lifetime.
We will use Bench again and would highly recommend them to anyone planning a trip to Africa.
Review by RusBee Dubrow3 months ago
Bench has always provided prompt and thorough information, and the booking process and holiday experiences just as described - very happy to book again and again! Our holiday this time was a bit different, stayed at Makutsi Lodge (outskirts of Kruger National Park) instead of travelling/touring, and had a wonderful time!
Review by CuteCupy Quental3 months ago
We used Bench Africa for a recent safari/holiday in Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe - It was even better than we imagined. Service from local in-country providers was excellent; hotels/lodges and camps were all very good: all the arrangements went off without a hitch and were on schedule. As for the scenery, people and wildlife it was truly memorable trip! Advice from Bench in preparation for the travel was very prompt and helpful. Thoroughly recommended.
Review by MeghanBaine Archee3 months ago
We were very well looked after on our classic Namibia safari from start to finish. The itinerary provided a good deal of variety in our daily activities. Our guide was excellent in terms of his driving, knowledge, organisation and helpfulness. The hotels were wonderful and the camping days were fun and an opportunity to see some out of the way places. We were very impressed by the delicious meals during the camping days. We would not hesitate to repeat this safari experience.
Eric at Bench was so helpful and responded very promptly to email queries.
Review by Pirasteh Libecans3 months ago
Maria organised our recent adventure to Tanzania and Kenya. The whole trip worked like clockwork - every pickup, every driver, every tour – all were on-time and everyone we met were incredibly friendly and helpful . The Tanzania Tour, over 6 days,was a wonderful experience with a great bunch or fellow travellers. Our fly ins to the camps at Amboseli and the Masai Mara were wonderful with luxury "tents" and such friendly helpful staff at both Satao Elerai in Amboselii and Sarova Mara in the Masai Mara. At Satao Elerai, we woke up to the sight of Mt Kilimanjaro and zebras outside our tent. We sat on the terrace watching the elephants, zebras, giraffes and antelopes using the water hole.
Maria's knowledge of Africa is amazing and her advice on our itinerary was invaluable. We will be calling Maria to arrange our next adventure in Africa.
Review by JAMESMacNichols3 months ago
Great easy organised safari via Bench Africa. The Journey was an adventure that was life changing. Will use Bench again for our return trips.
Review by Admir3 months ago
I used benchAfrica to book a week at Makutsi Safari Springs in late September. I spoke with Hank who was very helpful, and has kept in touch since I returned home by sending a Welcome Home card. He answered all my questions and gave good advice.
Review by Moreatha3 months ago
Small group of 12 toured through Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Absolutely fabulous. Cannot commend our guide (Norbet) enough, and all the local guides. They made our holiday an experience. It has been life affirming and changing for us.
All bookings went smoothly, no hassles, every thing where and when it should be. Well done Bench Africa and Jenman Tours - we will be back.
Review by SnowalkerX3 months ago
The whole trip was sensational, from go to whoa. All the arrangements happened with a minimum of fuss and the hotels were top notch and the people involved in the whole exercise were very good. I would recommend that anyone who is going on this trip ask for Emanuel, a guide/driver with Leopard Tours. His knowledge and experience were exceptional. I was also very impressed with the work of Hank who kept an eye on things for my entire trip, even to the point of picking up that one flight had been changed, meaning I would have missed a connecting flight home and the noticing that another flight had been inexplicably cancelled. It was good to know that I had that level of backup. I cannot recommend Bench highly enough and would go with them again without hesitation.
Review by Epicerzz3 months ago
Lyndal from Bench Africa did an amazing job in organising our private trip to Africa. We visited four countries and every transfer went to plan with delightful people meeting us at every point. The game camps were excellent with Savanna in Sabi Sand a highlight. I would certainly choose to travel with Bench Africa again.
Review by GTi4 months ago
Our favourite holiday ever! Karen's pre-tour organisation was excellent. The on-the-ground tour companies in Africa were efficient and timely, the accommodation was often very special and our guides were friendly and knowledgeable. We couldn't believe how close we were to the animals without disturbing them in any way. We hope to return one day soon.
Review by Naaye4 months ago
Bench was a fantastic company to deal with
for our African holiday. A family of 6 adults we all had an opinion of what we wanted out of a holiday . Bench organised everything via the phone and emails, they were prompt and nothing seemed too much trouble. Everything went according to plan . Transfers, internal flights, wonderful accommodation and delicious food for for all diets . We saw so many animals every game drive was exhilarating and great fun . I would definitely recommend Bench for any African holiday .
Review by Forked4 months ago
Our family has just returned from the most amazing holiday organised by the wonderful people at Bench Africa.
In the beginning, my wife and I had absolutely no idea about where to go and what to do. We were also traveling with our two children (aged 11 and 13) so it was important to us that the trip was safe and planned to take their ages into account.
Julie from Bench Africa took exceptional care of us and planned the whole trip in meticulous detail. She took the time to understand what we wanted to experience and planned the most amazing itinerary for our family. It wasn’t until we were in the midst of our African adventure that we understood the time and effort that Julie and the staff had gone to.
Bench Africa didn’t just plan us a holiday, they planned us an experience. One that we will always remember.
I cannot recommend the people at Bench Africa highly enough.
We will certainly be using them in the future.
Review by Hungarian4 months ago
In July 2019, we went on the Botswana Wildlife tour (15 days/14 nights) booked through Bench Africa and organised locally by Jenman Safaris. This was an absolutely outstanding experience. Many things contributed to making the trip such a pleasure, notably (1) the assistance from the folks at Bench Africa during the booking phase, as well as the subsequent support (2) the outstanding Jenman guide, for whom nothing was too much trouble.
We had a very friendly group of 12 people who got along from the outset, which certainly helped, and were exceptionally fortunate in terms of seeing a very wide range of wildlife (e.g. we saw lions, a leopard, many types of antelopes, dozens of giraffes and zebras, hundreds of elephants and buffaloes, as well as an endless variety of birds). The local guides who supported our Jenman guide were consistently excellent.
We stayed at several different lodges/camps during the trip. A'Zambezi Lodge at Victoria Falls and Chobe Safari Lodge at Kasane were clean and comfortable, with all tourist facilities. Camp Kwando in Namibia was a delight, with instant access to the river for a pre-dinner exploratory cruise. Guma Lagoon Camp in the Okavango Delta had an excellent location and was also quite good. Mankwe Bush Camp in Moremi Game Reserve was a fairly basic stopgap arrangement that nevertheless worked very well. Indeed the wonderful smiling staff at Mankwe gave us an impromptu concert after dinner on the second night! Nata Lodge was a pleasure for an overnight stop. We finished the tour staying at Elephant's Eye Lodge in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, a luxurious collection of tent chalets with amazing food.
There's a lot of road travel (over 2500 km) and we were out of our comfort zone some of the time, but it was all very worthwhile because of the range of experiences on offer: the tour is a genuine adventure for people of any age. The add-on scenic flight over the Delta in a 4-seater Cessna was special!
We unhesitatingly recommend Bench Africa to anyone considering a trip to that wonderful continent.
Review by Demontrez4 months ago
Wonderful first hand knowledge of Southern Africa which meant that all advice was honest and reliable. Maria, my travel consultant, was friendly, professional, so prompt in responding to my queries and knowledgeable. I really liked that they didn’t try up sell anything and understood my budget parameters. Highly recommend Bench Africa and especially Maria.
Review by Heywood5 months ago
Bench Africa, through Maria, exceeded our hopes and expectations in advising and booking our itinerary for us. All of our bookings and connections throughout Africa proceeded without hitch and we couldn't be happier with the quality of the accommodation and experiences. We particularly appreciated Maria providing additional advice to us on the tricky issue of tipping at game parks.
The highlight of our trip was our stay at the Santuary Makanyane Safari Lodge in the Madakwe reserve. The whole team at the lodge was friendly and welcoming and went out of their way to make our stay special. They found the perfect blend of luxurious, but relaxed. The food and accommodation was absolutely outstanding - we loved the fact that the open fire was waiting for us in our chalet when we returned after dinner each evening. On our game drives we saw a wide range of animals, including cheetah, lions, giraffes, elephants, buffalo, rhino, hippo, hyenas etc. Pulling up for our evening sundowner (or two) was a highlight and we really appreciated the company and insights provided by our guide Dylan. I would highly recommend Santuary Makanyane to anyone contemplating a once in a lifetime safari experience.
Review by Nigest Rishøj5 months ago
Superb and knowledgable service. Advice on trip, timing, planning was very very good. They arranged essentially a private tour for us that fulfilled and exceeded all our expectations at almost the same cost as a group tour.
Special thanks to Karen.
Dave and Erica.
Review by CPineros Sheehane5 months ago
I had been dreaming of travelling to Namibia for almost a decade, and my Bench safari lived up to even my most wild imaginings. From my incredibly knowledgable local guide Nestor, to the detailed itinerary covering all the highlights and some hidden gems too, to the excellent accommodation choices (Shipwreck Lodge and Hoanib Valley camp were highlights), it was faultless from start to finish. Dreaming of my next Bench trip already.
Review by Nicoster6 months ago
Trip was excellent. Tour consultant, Lyndal Montgomery, organised a very balanced trip for a first time to Africa. All experiences, accommodation, connections and personnel-excellent. It was a truely amazing trip. We will definitely return to Africa with Bench Africa and I will highly recommend the company to all my friends. Thank you.